How to restore, refresh, or reset your PC : Windows 8

If you're having problems with your PC, you can try to restore, refresh, or reset it. Restoring your PC is a way to undo recent system changes you've made. Refreshing your PC reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, and the apps that came with your PC and apps that you installed from Windows Store. Resetting your PC reinstalls Windows but deletes your files, settings, and apps—except for the apps that came with your PC.
If you need to restore your personal files, see How to use File History. If you used Backup and Restore in a previous version of Windows, you can use Windows 7 File Recovery to restore those backups. If you need to restart your PC, see How do I restart (reboot) my PC?

Restore your PC to an earlier point in time

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed caused problems with your PC, you can restore it back to an earlier point in time, called a restore point. System Restore doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

Note

  • System Restore isn't available for Windows RT.
  • Windows automatically creates a restore point when you install new Windows updates if the last restore point is older than 7 days. You can also create a restore point at any time.

To restore your PC using System Restore

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)
    Enter Recovery in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Recovery.
  2. Tap or click Open System Restore, and follow the prompts.

Refresh your PC without affecting your files

If your PC isn't performing as well as it once did, and you don't know why, you can refresh your PC without deleting any of your personal files or changing your settings.

Note

  • You might be prompted to insert discs or recovery media that came with your PC. Check the info that came with your PC to see if your PC manufacturer provided these discs or media. In some cases, you might have created them when you first set up your PC.
Warning

Warning

  • The apps that came with your PC or you installed from Windows Store will be reinstalled, but any apps you installed from other websites and DVDs will be removed. Windows puts a list of the removed apps on your desktop after refreshing your PC.

To refresh your PC

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
  2. Under PC settings, tap or click General.
  3. Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, tap or click Get started.
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen.

Remove everything and reinstall Windows

If you want to recycle your PC, give it away, or start over with it, you can reset it completely.

Note

  • You might be prompted to insert discs or recovery media that came with your PC. Check the info that came with your PC to see if your PC manufacturer provided these discs or media. In some cases, you might have created them when you first set up your PC.
Warning

Warning

  • All of your personal files will be deleted and your settings will be reset. Any apps the came with your PC will be reinstalled, but all other apps will be removed.

To reset your PC

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
  2. Under PC settings, tap or click General.
  3. Under Remove everything and reinstall Windows , tap or click Get started.
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen.

    Note

    • You'll be prompted to choose whether you want to erase data quickly or thoroughly. If you choose to erase data quickly, some data might be recoverable using special software. If you choose to erase data thoroughly, this will take longer but it makes recovering data far less likely.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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